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Adobe chief dodges questions over pricing

Ben Grubb | Feb. 14, 2013
Adobe's global chief executive has been forced to defend why his company charges Australians $1800 more for some its software when compared with what it charges in the US.

Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer of Adobe.

Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe. Photo: Bloomberg

It's cheaper to fly to the United States and back to buy some of Adobe's software there than it is to buy it in Australia. But that doesn't appear to faze Adobe's global chief executive Shantanu Narayen, who was forced to defend why his company charges Australians $1800 more for some its software when compared with what it charges for the same software in the US.

Mr Narayen was in Sydney on Thursday to open a new Adobe office alongside Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, which will be home to about 200 Adobe employees.

But the main question journalists wanted Mr Narayen to answer was why his company continued to gouge Australians when charging for some of its products. As recently pointed out by technology website Gizmodo, in one instance it's actually cheaper to fly to the US and back than to buy a product from Adobe on Australian soil.

Adobe's Creative Suite Master 6 Collection, which in Australia costs $4334, carries a price of $US2599 ($A2509) in the US, leaving a price disparity of about $A1825.

"It's still cheaper to fly from here in Sydney to Los Angeles, buy it there, and come home. By doing that I'd save $601, and I'd get Virgin Australia frequent flyer points, too," wrote Gizmodo Australia's Luke Hopewell.

Before answering questions, Mr Narayen predicted price disparity would become a topic of interest among journalists asking questions, and tried to avoid the topic by repeatedly saying that the future of Adobe was a move to cloud-based products instead of something you have to install on your computer.

On Wednesday, Adobe announced a price reduction in Australia to its cloud-based products, but came under fire from consumer advocates for not cutting the prices of other software that can be installed on computers.

Mr Narayen said before questions were asked that some of the recent announcements Adobe had made on pricing of cloud-based product were about continuing "rapid adoption" of that particular product.

He said cloud was where Adobe saw the future of its Creative Suite products, adding that Adobe was using Australia as the first region in which the company had conducted "effective sort of pricing studies".


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